Optional Rules and Musings for Twilight of the Sun-King

The Yahoo Group: TwilightSK discuss various tweaks to the standard rules. In particular Tom Loback and Vincent Tsao of the Corlears Hook Fencibles generate lots of suggestions. This is my list of optional rules and/or musings based on that discussion. It is largely the suggestions of Tom and Vincent but with some twists of my own. Feel free to pick and choose from this list to tweak the official rules.

2d6 Morale Tests

The standard rules use 2 average dice for morale tests. You could easily use 2 normal d6. 7 or more is still a pass.

Bigger Units

The standard rules use two 4 cm x 2 cm stands for a brigade and a ground scale of 1 cm = 100 paces. So a brigade in line is 8 cm or 800 paces wide or 600 m using the WRG ratio of 1 pace = 0.75 m.

You can use larger units, i.e. with more stands, just keep the width of the brigade the same, i.e. 800 paces (600 m). If using:

  • four bases for a brigade then the base width = 200 paces (or 150 m).
  • three bases for a brigade then the base width = 267 paces (or 200 m). Round this to 300 paces as most distances in the rules are a multiple of 150 paces.

For example the Corlears Hook Fencibles use 15mm figures with each brigade containing four 1″ wide stands. They adjust the ground scale so that 1” = 150 yards (about 200 paces), 12” = ~1 mile. This still allows Blenheim and Waterloo to fit on a 4X6 foot table.

Musket Range and Cavalry Threat Distance

Musket range and cavalry threat distance are both increased to 400 paces. This is purely because the official 200 paces is too fiddly, even with bigger units.

Limitations on Support

An infantry/cavalry unit may only support one infantry/cavalry unit per turn. It may also support as many artillery units as are directly in front within 200 paces.

No Double Line Formation

The Corlears Hook Fencibles have abandoned the double line formation because:

  • They prefer the look of brigades in single line.
  • Double lines are THE formation to use, i.e. you’d be silly to use anything else.
  • This formation doesn’t appear to have been used much during the War of Spanish Succession The maps I see don’t show this formation in much use during the WSS. It becomes standard by the Napoleonic Wars

Columns on roads

Columns on roads should not need to take action tests to follow bends in the road. Columns that come to a fork or junction do need to attempt an action to turn.

Multiple Moves

Multiple Move 2d6 Roll

The Corlears Hook Fencibles use this rule for multiple moves by a unit in a turn.

Multiple moves beyond 6″ roll 2D6 2-5 = no move, 6-7 = one move, 8-9 = two, 10+ = three moves.

You must indicate, before rolling, how many moves and the direction. So, if you declare you’re rolling for three moves and the first 2 are marches in column to reach a position and the 3rd a deployment into line but your die roll then only allows 2 moves, you must move in column as you indicated to the position, but you cannot deploy into line. You may not initiate, pass or end moves within 6 inches of an enemy unit.

You can move an entire command, or some units of it, provided they are all doing the same thing. Or, you could roll each unit separately. For example you could move four brigades of a command with one roll if you didn’t want the division moving piecemeal.

Multiple Move Action Roll

An un-play tested variation by Steven.

A unit can take a second action in a turn by rolling another action test; the unit can keep doing this until it fails an action test. A unit may not initiate, pass or end a second or subsequent move within 6 inches of an enemy unit. Even a straight ahead move requires an action test for a second or subsequent action in a turn. A second action incurs a -1 modifier, a third gets -2, etc.

Units that are going to take the same actions can share an action roll.


Units may interpenetrate, i.e. pass through, friendly units but not enemy units. The units being interpenetrated may not move or change formation in the same turn. Units in line may freely interpenetrate unlimbered artillery. All other cases require an action.

Units in line and in combat may about face and fall back through lines behind them. They must end up facing away from the enemy and may not turn again until another action test is passed.

Units in line may fall back around squares provided there are 1” gaps that sub-units may manoeuvre through. This movement of sub-units is below the level represented in the game and is assumed rather than modelled.

Support units may pass through front line units if the front line is not in melee or under musket fire or cavalry threat.


Artillery deployment and Grand Batteries

During the Marlburian period artillery batteries may not deploy adjacent to each other. At least one infantry/cavalry brigade must be between each pair of batteries. That means you have to form your own grand batteries. You cannot start with them deployed.

During the War of the Austrian Succession/Seven Years War artillery batteries may deploy singly or in pairs.

Artillery Range

During the Marlburian period artillery range is 200 paces for close range and 1000 paces for effective range.

During the War of the Austrian Succession/Seven Years War artillery range is increased to 800 paces for close range and 1600 paces for effective range.

Man Handling Guns

During the War of the Austrian Succession/Seven Years War artillery may manhandle forward 1” or pivot up to 90 degrees if they pass an action test. They may not fire after moving.

Line versus Square

-1 Morale modifier for infantry square fired on or in melee with infantry in line

Close Fighting Infantry

Some types of infantry were only equipped with melee weapons. They inflict a melee modifier

-1 Morale modifier for infantry with missile weapons in melee with infantry without

Note: this optional rule is most appropriate for Ancient/Medieval games and/or games set outside Europe.

Close going

Close going, such as vineyards, enclosed fields, anything that infantry can navigate easily but poses problems to mounted troops. This has no effect on infantry but gives cavalry -1 in melee. Foot troops in melee with cavalry count as being in favourable terrain. Cavalry and artillery move at half speed in such terrain. Squares may not move in close going.

Terrain Action Test instead of Reduced

The standard rules the slow movement of units in bad going.

You could replace this rule by asking troops to take an action test to move into or through bad going. They might move full speed, they might not move at all. This would probably need some modifiers, for example:

-2 if in line or square

-1 if cavalry or artillery

-1 if don’t know the terrain

Cavalry Break-off

Cavalry in melee that fails a morale test must break contact. This happens instead of voluntary movement or action. If the cavalry has rear support they about face and retire a full move through the supports. They may not turn again until they pass an action test. If the cavalry are not supported they must fall back at half speed facing the enemy and may not make any further movement. They may not charge this turn, even if a general asks them to.

Light Infantry

Light infantry in line may move freely through other friendly troops in line without testing. They move 200 paces faster than other infantry.

You could give them -1 hit (i.e. 2 rather than the normal 3 for infantry).

Morale modifiers:

-1 light infantry in good going in melee

+1 light infantry under artillery fire

Light Cavalry

You could give them -1 hit (i.e. 1 rather than the normal 2 for cavalry).

Regular Light Cavalry

Light cavalry in clear terrain may attempt to evade infantry fire and heavier cavalry in melee. They roll for an action before taking morale test. If successful, they fall back facing and do not take a morale test. If they fail, test as usual.

Morale modifier:
-1 light cavalry in melee against all except light troops


Cossacks move 1” faster than other cavalry and may attempt to evade from infantry fire and all other cavalry in melee. They may move through difficult terrain in line, at column speed.

Morale modifier:
-1 Cossacks under artillery fire, or in melee with any other troops

Morale Grade: Elite, Ordinary, Raw

The standard rules give Elite troops a +1 in morale and Raw troops a -1. However all infantry can take 3 hits, regardless of morale grade and all others 2 hits.

Instead you could give the Elites +1 hit (4 for infantry and 3 for cavalry) and Raw -1 hit (2 for infantry and 1 for cavalry). With this rule you would drop the +1/-1 morale modifiers.


The rules for Generals need an overhaul, not least because a -1 General is pretty rubbish.

These suggestions are from the Corlears Hook Fencibles house rules Esprit.

Generals can be 1 (poor), 2 (competent) or 3 (skilled).

If playing a pickup game, roll a D6. 1 or 2 produces a poor general, 3, 4 or 5 a competent one and 6 a skilled one. If rolling to determine a battlefield replacement, subtract one from the die roll. Someone being pushed into command usually doesn’t know what is going on at the moment.

Generals may make one additional action test per skill number per turn. A 3 general may make three action tests per turn. The unit chosen must be within 6” of the general. The action can be a new action, or an attempt to redo a failed action. For example, a unit has pulled back from the enemy on its own and is facing away from the enemy. A general within 6” (and in the proper chain of command) may now try to have the unit about face. Presume a unit has failed to charge. A general within 6” may attempt to have that unit charge again, etc. These actions must all be done before the general moves.

Generals may also re-roll the morale test of a unit they are attached to. The general must survive the first morale test to do this. All generals may do this once per turn. Poor generals can be as brave as any.

If a general is hors de combat he is replaced with a new one (dice as above for quality). The new general may not re-roll combat the same turn he appears.

Army Morale count each officers hors de combat as a broken brigade.

If using these rules then delete the morale modifier: +1 if a +1 general with the unit

Summary of New/Changed Morale modifiers

New modifiers:

-1 infantry square fired on or in melee with infantry in line

-1 cavalry in melee in close going

-1 light infantry in good going in melee

+1 light infantry under artillery fire

-1 light cavalry in melee against all except light troops

-1 Cossacks under artillery fire, or in melee with any other troops

-1 Morale modifier for infantry with missile weapons in melee with infantry without

Delete these modifiers:

+1 elite unit

-1 raw unit

+1 if a +1 general with the unit

Scenario Specific Modifiers

Specific scenarios might include national characteristics affecting moral and/or action rolls.

+1 to all elite & regular Prussian action rolls

-1 for poorly drilled troops taking an action roll

-1 v british 1st fire

+1 French attempting to charge

Leave a Reply